Resting or Rooting

God has graciously allowed Sheri and I to rear six wonderful children. My wife has nursed each one of them. Thus, I have been able to observe the nursing process up close. When our child was hungry for his/her mother’s milk, nothing else would do. When my wife or I would hold them, they would not settle down, but would be actively rooting. They did not want to be comforted or cradled. They were often cranky and flailing until they got what they wanted.  Conversely, after they were weaned they would readily crawl up into our laps and seek to be cradled, especially when they were sick. Our arms were a refuge rather than a refilling station.

In Psalm 131:2, David picks up on this imagery as he describes his relationship with God– “But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother: like a weaned child is my soul within me.” (ESV) Rather than crawling up into the lap of my loving Father and quietly resting, I often flail and fight as I demand to understand things that are beyond me or relentlessly pursue my own dreams (131:1– “I do not have great aspirations, or concern myself with things that are beyond me.” [NET]). We have to learn to live with our limitations as we rest in the arms of our faithful God. The life of faith must accept the mystery of God’s ways and the disappointments of personal expectations. David ends the psalm in verse three with a call to his fellow Jews to rest in God as a way of life – “O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” At the end of the day, the only way to live with our limitations in understanding and accomplishments is to rest in our limitless God.

Doug Finkbeiner

About Doug Finkbeiner
I am a Professor of New Testament and Pastoral Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA.

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